As the extended season comes to an end we take a look at the standout XI of Irish players from both the Premier League and the Championship.
Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough & West Ham)
A tricky one between the sticks to begin with, Darren Randolph gets the nod for his campaign with Middlesbrough and later West Ham.
The 33-year-old featured 17 times throughout the season beginning first in the Championship with Boro before a move back to the Premier League with West Ham.
Largely used as a second choice in East London, Randolph will still likely be Ireland’s number one come the next set of fixtures.
Enda Stevens (Sheffield United)
One of the main reasons for Sheffield United’s brilliant first season back in the Premier League, Enda Stevens managed to establish himself as one of the best in his position this campaign.
The 30-year-old played every game for the Blades this season, scoring twice and notching up four assists for Chris Wilder’s side.
As a part of Sheffield United’s swashbuckling back five, Stevens and co. managed to finish the season with the least amount of goals conceded out of any team outside of the top three, with the former Shamrock Rovers man looking more than comfortable with his first real crack at the top flight.
John Egan (Sheffield United)
The standout Irish player across both the Championship and the Premier League, John Egan’s seamless transition to the top flight has been a wonderful plus for both Ireland and Sheffield United.
Alongside Jack O’Connell and Chris Basham, Egan has been apart of one of the steadiest backlines in the whole division with the 27-year-old acting as the sitter for his overlapping central defensive partners.
Egan also netted two crucial goals for the Blades as they managed an incredible top nine finish and is no doubt in the running for a spot in the PFA Team of the Year.
Dara O’Shea (West Brom)
A centre-back turned right-back who will play in his original position for the purpose of this XI, Dara O’Shea has been a real find for West Brom this season.
The 21-year-old amazingly only made his league debut in December for the Baggies, becoming a regular at right-back from January on and helping his side clinch a spot in the Premier League next season.
A steady and reliable defender O’Shea also found the net three times in his debut season before being named West Brom’s Young Player of the Year.
One to watch out for in next season’s Premier League.
Matt Doherty (Wolves)
If anyone had any doubts as to whether Matt Doherty’s first season in the Premier League was a fluke, the former Bohemians man put many minds at ease during this campaign.
In a hugely impressive Wolves side which once again finished in the top seven, Doherty was outstanding at right-wing-back providing four goals and four assists from the position.
He also managed to find a brilliant connection with the equally dangerous Adama Traore towards the latter part of the season in what became a real attacking asset for Wolves.
A season in which the 28-year-old cemented himself as one of the league’s best in his position.
James McCarthy (Crystal Palace)
Not many would have guessed at the inclusion of James McCarthy at the beginning of the campaign but after years of injury worries, it looks as though the 29-year-old has found his rhythm again.
After sporadic appearances towards the start of the campaign, McCarthy managed to break into the starting XI at Crystal Palace featuring in 23 games on the bounce for Roy Hodgson’s men.
In his holding midfield role, McCarthy brought steadiness to Palace and despite their poor run of form at the end of the season, it was generally a bright campaign for the Eagles.
A return to the Irish setup would be the cherry on top of the cake for McCarthy.
Jason Knight (Derby)
It was a season of ups and downs for Derby County, but undoubtedly one of the biggest bonuses was the emergence of their young academy talent – and in particular Jason Knight.
Still just 19, Knight had seen minutes last season but became a first-team regular this campaign featuring in 31 games as well as the last 11 of the season.
A midfielder who has been deployed in a number of positions at Derby already in his career, Knight popped up with six goals for Phillip Cocu’s side as they finished 10th.
An Irish youngster with a really bright future.
Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa)
Conor Hourihane found himself in and out of the Aston Villa starting XI this season but its hard to argue against Dean Smith side’s being better with him in it rather than out of it.
Hourihane managed 27 appearances in the league but crucially started Villa’s last four games in which they picked up eight points and managed to avoid relegation – with his set-pieces proving a real asset.
The 29-year-old scored three goals and created five in his debut Premier League season but also proved magnificent in Villa’s League Cup run bagging four goals in six games.
David McGoldrick (Sheffield United)
A lot, arguably too much, was made of David McGoldrick’s lengthy barren spell in front of goal in the Premier League however as a whole it was a very strong season in the top flight for the 32-year-old.
McGoldrick did eventually break his duck with two against Chelsea, but it was his overall play as part of a front two which became the real asset for Sheffield United.
A brilliant link-up man with the ability to bring defenders and attackers into the game, what McGoldrick does for his side almost cannot be measured.
Rotation aside he still managed 28 appearances for the Blades as they finished 10th in a remarkable campaign.
Aaron Connolly (Brighton)
A huge talent who may have seen even more game time had it not been for niggling injuries, Aaron Connolly’s debut Premier League campaign was impressive.
The 20-year-old featured in 24 games for Brighton, starting 14 and scoring a very memorable brace against Tottenham in what was his first Premier League start.
Connolly would go on to finish the season with three goals with his pace causing issues for defenders across the league.
He will be hoping he can kick on once again next season.
Shane Long (Southampton)
A strong showing in what turned out to be a promising campaign for Southampton, Shane Long managed to re-find his form in the 2019/2020 season.
Long barely featured at the start of the campaign in which the Saints struggled, however, his return to the starting XI led to an upturn in form, which was no coincidence.
He formed a promising partnership with 22 goal Danny Ings and despite only finding the net twice himself, his overall play for the team was a huge asset.
A contract renewal was a just reward for his strong season.